Promises Kept, Promises Broken

Part 4

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
2/20/03

Lestrade kept her gaze narrowed on Holmes, despite the fact that she was happy to see him. She was rather upset with him at the moment, not to mention confused, and she wasnít going to let him get away with what he thought he was going to get away with. He had turned back around after her outburst and was rifling through the various things on the shelf above the floating cot. He was apparently intent upon ignoring her, which drove her anger -- and, she had to admit, her curiosity -- up.

"Holmes," she began warningly, but he held up a hand to silence her. She frowned and started again, but stopped when she too heard what he must have: the sound of boots hitting the hard packed dirt of the barn floor. She sighed, folded her arms and fell back against the wall, still glaring at the detective.

A few seconds later the door burst open and three wet, unruly figures came running in, one right after the other. It was C.C. followed by Katy who in turn was followed by Colin. They were all talking at once, each clamoring to be heard above the other in their attempt to get her to hear their side of the story, which she hadnít been able to discern so far. Something about a dog...maybe a log? She shook her head and then let out a shrill whistle. Everyone, including Holmes, looked at her in surprise.

"Okay, now, C.C., you start first. Ah ah! Katy, wait your turn. You can tell your side when sheís done. Go on, C.C."

The girl smirked at Katy then sniffled and gazed pathetically up at Lestrade. "I was just minding my own business," she sniveled, "when Katy tried to push me into that bog of mud...."

"I did not! I shoved past you when you wouldnít move out of my way, you whiny little brat!" Katy shouted, her hands clenched into fists.

"Did too!"

"Come on, you guys, it was a little accident," Colin tried to intervene, his brow furrowed worriedly, "Just apologize for shoving her, Kait, and..."

His older sister whirled on him, and Lestrade stepped between the two of them. "Good idea, Katy. You shouldnít push people, whether they move for you or not." She scowled at Holmes when he made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a snicker.

"Sorry," Katy said, scowling at the younger girl. Then she mumbled under her breath something that sounded a lot like, "But not as sorry as youíre gonna be when I get you alone." Then she stomped out of the apartment obviously angry at her aunt, who usually took her side against C.C.ís machinations. She was at that self-absorbed stage where the whole world was against her if things didnít go her way, and the situation she and her brother were in was hardly conducive to learning anything different.

Lestrade watched the doorway where the girl had gone and then looked back at the other two.

"C.C., I thought your mother told you to clean your room before you could go outside?"

"Well...." the girl began.

"Well, nothing. I take it from that you didnít do what you were told. Now go back to the house right now." She pointed out the door, and C.C. scowled, folded her arms across her chest and huffed. Then she caught sight of Holmes and her expression cleared. "No," Lestrade said, "you can meet the new guy later."

"Mommy would...."

"I ainít your Mommy." Lestrade had found that it was more effective when she put a slight accent in her voice when dealing with C.C., and it was even more effective when she butchered the English language. The girl sighed and slumped her shoulders, clearly not going to leave without letting Lestrade know she was incredibly mean. "Get." The single word was enough to forestall the planned spectacle and C.C. fled from the room.

"Well?" she asked Colin as he looked at the door. The boy looked at her with his big brown puppy dog eyes out of his cherubic face. She supposed in a few years all that baby fat would finally fall off and his face would be as lanky as his form, but she rather doubted it.

"Well, what?" he asked back, suddenly grinning. He was looking between Holmes and herself. "Oh, I get it." He nodded sagely.

Lestrade scowled and playfully hit him on the arm, even as a blush rose in her cheeks.

Holmes, rather good at acting, scratched his head and gave them both a confused look. "íScuse me, but I ainít so sure whatís goiní on...."

Colin choked on his sudden laughter, and Lestrade mock-glared at Holmes. Her heart was lighter than it had been since she had come here, and knew that at least her dear nephew could cheer her up if she needed it. She refused to admit that maybe Holmes had something to do with that as well, maybe even all of it really. Besides, she was still upset with him for -- well, for whatever it was that he was doing here. Which she still hadnít found out. She hadnít even had a chance!

"Now hold on here a minute," Holmes protested, "I ainít said nothiní thatís to be laughed about. Iím just a poor drifter lookiní for a job while I can. Aní I donít think this is the place...." He placed the Stetson squarely on his head and made as if to leave. Of course, he wouldnít want to have to explain himself to her, whether or not it would be something that could cause her personal danger. Well, too bad for him.

Colin instantly looked contrite, his face creasing once more into worried lines. Lestrade, knowing what his game was, stepped in front of him and placed her hand on his chest. She smiled without humor and glanced over at Colin.

"íSokay, Colly-pup, he knows we were just joking. Didnít you?" She raised an eyebrow meaningfully.

Holmes shrugged. "íCourse. Didnít mean to make you think you were beiní rude. But really, I...."

"But really, you have been rude, havenít you, mister? Why, we donít even know your name...." Lestrade smiled, enjoying herself greatly. She knew he would never break cover unless it suited his purposes.

"Mitch." That one monosyllabic word was filled with his resignation and Lestradeís smile grew.

"Okay, then," Colin said, the worry easing from his face, "See ya around, Mitch. Iím gonna go say hi to Scribbles. I forgot to last week." The boy went running out of the apartment and down the stairs.

"Now," Lestrade said, once she was sure he was gone, "Youíre gonna tell me why youíre here."

On to part 5!

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